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IsoHunt shuts early to prevent archiving, owner Gary Fung rickrolls fans

Popular torrenting site IsoHunt has lost a seven-year court battle with the MPAA

Popular torrenting website IsoHunt has completed its shut down this week following a court settlement with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) announced last Thursday.

The court case began seven years and ended last Thursday with the site’s owner, Gary Fung, agreeing to pay $110 million (£68m) to the group of film studios including Twentieth Century Fox and Disney.

Court documents obtained by the BBC have indicated that Mr Fung and his company will only be able to pay between $2m and $4m of the $110m fine.

The shut-down of the website had originally been planned for the evening of 22 October, but an early closure was initiated to stop “rogue archivists” creating a back-up of the torrent directory.

The homepage of the site was replaced with a post written by Fung titled “Initiating Self Destruct”, with Fung explaining that “We are shutting down isoHunt services a little early. I’m told there was this Internet archival team that wants to make historical copy of our .torrent files.”

Speaking to TorrentFreak the archivists noted that the aim had to been to preserve the metadata surrounding the files (including comment threads and user IDs) as a historical document, rather than the torrents themself. ArchiveTeam member ‘joepie91’ has reported that the group were still able to collect 242GB of data before the site was closed.

Mr Fung was accused by the MPAA of inducing the pirating of films and TV shows. Fung defended himself by saying that his site did not host any pirate material although it did index where such material could be found.

“[The] truth is about 95% of those .torrent files can be found off Google regardless and mostly have been indexed from other BitTorrent sites in the first place,” said Mr Fung in a statement from IsoHunt.

 “It's been an adventure in the last 10.5 years working on isoHunt, a privilege working with some of the smartest guys I've worked with, and my life won't be the same without it. For what I'm working on next, please look up my blog on Google and follow me there. Because as the Terminator would say with a German accent, ‘I’ll be backkk.’ – Gary Fung.”

Fung then posted a link to a video titled “Terminator Salvation - Newly Released Trailer” although users who clicked the link found themselves listening to Rick Astley’s 1987 hit ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.